CES trends to watch: Mobile devices with all the bells and whistles

Next month, the who’s who of the consumer electronics world will descend on Las Vegas to see what will make its way into retail stores for the next year. At a time when retailers swarm to trade shows to see what products they can source themselves, trends at these conferences have never been more important.

As part of our pre-show coverage, Appliance Retailer will down the major trends that will be making waves at the January event. So what can Australian retailers expect of the 2014 International CES?

The rise of the mobile device, with all the bells and whistles…

The rise of mobile technology will not only see more smartphones and tablets on display — it will see single-purpose products pushed to the peripheries as they become redundant.

The top-tier brands have all but abandoned basic point and shoot cameras, and unless there is serious innovation in the space, retailers shouldn’t expect to see a great deal of satellite navigation devices. But while the standalone products may disappear, expect to see GPS, NFC connectivity and photographic capability rolled into other products as the lines between categories are blurred.

In-built mapping apps on smartphones have pushed standalone GPS devices to the fringes, and with brands such as Samsung signing deals with the likes of Garmin for dedicated Navigon navigation on branded devices, this is expected to continue.

Similarly, imaging capabilities on smartphones (and even tablets) are beginning to put basic point and shoot cameras of just a few years ago to shame. Nokia has tried to carve a niche for itself in this regard, spruiking its imaging chops with the Lumia range of smartphones — the recently launched Lumia 1520 boasted a 20 megapixel camera, while the Lumia 1020 features a second generation 41 megapixel sensor, with Carl Zeiss optics and six physical lenses. Nokia scored product placement for this device in a recent Katy Perry film clip, no doubt skyrocketing its cultural cache in the tween market.

Finally, advances in connectivity are turning smartphones and tablets into the cover-all media device for connected consumers. NFC has drastically simplified the process of pairing a device with a bluetooth speaker, creating a digital ‘handshake’ that removes the need for convoluted set-up. Sony is trying to gain mind share in this space, branding NFC capability under the “One Touch” moniker across its devices.

There is a great deal of potential for NFC on mobile devices — including contactless payments, the ability to load content onto a smartphone from small NFC ‘tags’ and even ticketing applications. The main stumbling block for this nascent technology is whether or not it can reach the mainstream without support from Apple. Watch this space…

Appliance Retailer will be heading to the 2014 International CES to provide up-to-the-minute coverage live from the show. Tune in from Tuesday 7 January 2014 to see all the news as it happens.

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